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Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024
the Fourth Week after Easter
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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary

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Every one knows what rain is, and all are sensible of the importance of this blessing on the earth. No doubt it is produced by the exhalation of the sun, forming vapours from the earth and sea, which return in showers, to carry on the merciful purpose of the Lord in his blessings on nature. And the same in the moral and spiritual world, all comes from the same course in the Lord's own sovereignty and goodness; for as the sun the natural world is the first and predisposing cause, so in the moral and spiritual world it is the Sun of righteousness, from his divine operation on the hearts of his people, which brings forth the showers of grace, and induceth all the blessed effects which follow in their lives and conversation. The prophet Hosea beautifully expresseth this truth in one of his chapters. He represents a time of drought by the bottles of heaven being stopped, and the earth languishing for thirst; and under these circumstances he brings in the heavens and the earth as sending forth their cries for the needed mercy, and the goodness of the Lord in answering them. "And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people, and they shall say, Thou art my God." (Hosea 2:21-23) It is in vain for the men of Jezreel to expect the corn, and oil, and fruits of the earth, if the Lord restrain the clouds of heaven and the rain, that they withhold their fatness. It is in vain for the earth to cry to the heavens to send the rain, if the Lord of heaven gives not his commands to the clouds to answer the wants of nature. But if the Lord puts the cry in the heavens above, and in the hearts of his re deemed below, and he that puts the cry comes forth to answer it in mercy, then all these blessed effects follow each other as the prophet hath described. And as in nature, so in grace, the Lord sends showers of grace upon his inheritance when they are weary, from the blessed cause he here assigns: I will say to them, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God?

We hear often mention made in the Scriptures concerning the first rain, and the latter rain, in their season, (Deuteronomy 11:14) —and, no doubt, there was somewhat particularly suited and seasonable in both. The Hebrews called those rains by different names. The first, or former rain, they called Jorah, which in the autumn, because in their calculation the Jews began their year at that season. The latter rain was in the spring of the year, and this they called Malkush, which is supposed to be the peculiar and special refreshment for the dry earth. Moses, the man of God, prepared the minds of the people for those blessings in Canaan, as to kens of divine favour, by putting the people in mind of their past labour in Egypt. For though the river Nile, which the Egyptians prided themselves so much upon, did indeed overflow the banks of it at certain seasons, yet the higher and remote ground from it could not be benefited thereby; and therefore the inhabitants were obliged occasionally to water their ground, in order to render it fruit ful. Moses prepares Israel, therefore, for the Lord's special blessing over them in this particular when they get into Canaan. "For the land (saith Moses) whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs. But the land whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and vallies, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven; a land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year?" (Deuteronomy 11:10-12)

I cannot dismiss this view of the former and latter rain without first calling upon the reader to notice a passage in the writings of Hosea, where, if I mistake not, the Holy Ghost, by his servant the prophet, hath blessedly made those springs and autumns of the rain beautifully descriptive of the person and visits of Jesus. "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord, his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." (Hosea 6:3) If the reader will consult the Bible, from whence these words are taken, he will discover, what the whole context proves, that what is here said is spoken of the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed it could be said of no other. And he will discover also, that that little word if is in italics, to intimate that it is not in the original; and therefore the coming of the Lord as the morning, is not made to depend upon our ifs, but is the sole result or, his own free grace. And surely no thing can be more beautiful and lovely in the promise of Jesus coming to his people, both in the early and latter manifestations of his grace, than in the resemblance here made of it to the genial influences of the early and the latter rain. His goings forth are prepared as the morning of eternity, and in the morning of time, his first manifestations in grace, and in all the after seasons of his love, when visiting his people. Who shall describe the sweet and silent droppings of the rain, the dew from the Lord, and the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth"not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men!"Who shall calculate their number, their richness, their refreshing influence, coming from him who from the womb of the morning hath the dew of his youth!"Who shall mark down the times and the seasons in the unobserved, unnoticed, unknown visits to all but to the souls of his redeemed, to whom he imparts his blessings in secret, when carrying on the sacred purposes of his kingdom which cometh not by observation." Surely every redeemed soul that knoweth what these things mean must be constrained to say with David: "He is as the light of the morning when the sun ariseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after other beauties in the Scriptures concerning divine things, which are described under the similitude of rain;" but I must not enlarge, and therefore can only make reference to the Scriptures themselves. (See Deuteronomy 32:2; Job 20:22-23; Psalms 65:10; Psa 68:9; Psa 72:6; Psa 147:8; Isaiah 30:23; Isa 55:10; Hosea 10:2; Acts 14:17)

I cannot however refrain from making one observation more upon the subject of rain, though differing in quality from the ordinary rain to which in this country we are accustomed. In that solemn chapter in the book of Deuteronomy where Moses, the man of God, is denouncing threatenings to Israel's disobedience, we find this remarkable expression: "The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust; from heaven shall it come down upon thee until thou be destroyed." (Deuteronomy 28:24) The thing would not be so striking if it referred to the hurricanes which sometimes take place on the deserts of the East, where whole caravans have been known to be covered over and destroyed. But the particularity in this account of Moses is, that the storm of powder and dust "shall come down from heaven upon thee." I confess the expression by a figure may be said to be from heaven, even when the whirlwind is made by the winds on the sand of the earth, because it is the Lord's judgment: yet, I humbly conceive, somewhat more is meant by this rain of powder and dust than the raising it from the earth. But in either sense, or in both, the circumstance is alarming. We see that the Lord can convert our very blessings into curses; and make those showers of rain, which are essential and necessary to the very existence as well as the comfort of man, become showers of powder and dust to destroy.

And here, reader, I beg again to point to the Lord. Jesus Christ, who is as blessed to us against this calamity as he is blessed to us in the showers of rain, when he cometh to us as the "latter rain and as the former rain upon the earth."The prophet was commissioned by the Holy Ghost to point him out under the beautiful similitude of a shelter to his people, when he said: "And a man (or the man Christ Jesus) shall be as an hiding place from the storm, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." (Isaiah 32:1-20) Jesus is all this and infinitely more when the storm of sin raiseth up the powder and dust of our corrupt nature, and threatens to swallow us up in everlasting destruction. And while he protects from wrath, he com forts with his refreshments of grace; and is not only a covert from the wind, but like rivers of water to the soul, which satisfy the thirsty desires, as travellers in a desert when they find a sweet spring in the way. See Dew

Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Rain'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​pmd/​r/rain.html. London. 1828.
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